DWP: Touchbase – Fri 21 Jan


Roundup of recent DWP announcements 

Employment opportunities for Afghan citizens resettling in the UK

As part of Operation Warm Welcome, DWP is working alongside other government departments, employers, and organisations throughout the country to support those Afghan citizens who have resettled in the UK to find work, permanent housing and integrate into UK life.

We want to maximise support to help citizens to find employment, by removing barriers where appropriate and running support sessions on skills, CV writing and work experience. You can help by connecting employers and other organisations to DWP, where we can then offer opportunities for training or jobs for Afghan citizens resettling in the UK.

You can help by encouraging employers who may have employment opportunities, to contact DWP. They can do this by emailing employer.advice@dwp.gov.uk.

To find out more please contact your local DWP Service Leader.

Restart Scheme eligibility criteria expanded

The Restart scheme gives Universal Credit claimants who have been out of work for at least nine months’ enhanced support to find jobs in their local area and eligibility has now been expanded to provide an important new opportunity to allow as many claimants as possible to benefit:

  1. Claimants in the Intensive Work Search Regime (IWSR) for a minimum of nine months uninterrupted, with no upper limit
  2. Claimants who:
    • have been through a self-employed Gateway Interview and have had a not Gainfully Self-Employed (GSE) decision, including those that continue to report self-employed earnings, or
    • may be considering self-employment but are not ready for a self-employed Gateway Interview.

The reduction in the minimum period a claimant must spend in the IWSR to be eligible means that discretionary referrals will only be appropriate for claimants that have been in the IWSR for less than nine months.

To better align JETS and Restart, JETS is the appropriate programme for claimants in the IWS group who have been unemployed for 13 weeks or over and need light touch employment support. For those claimants reaching nine months a place on the Restart Scheme should be the first consideration, so other provision need only be considered where Restart is not suitable.

Restart Scheme is available in England and Wales only.

Find out more about the Restart Scheme

New measures to protect savers and boost pension guidance take-up

The Government has introduced new measures to ensure savers are fully informed of their options when seeking to access their pension pots.

From 1 June 2022, occupational pension schemes will be required to present people with guidance as a routine part of accessing pension savings. They must also offer to book a Pension Wise appointment for a saver, unless they actively decide to opt out of receiving guidance.

Pension Wise is a government service that provides free, impartial, guidance to help individuals aged 50 and over consider the options for accessing their defined contribution (DC) pension. At a Pension Wise appointment, trained specialists talk savers through their options and help them understand what their overall financial situation will be when they retire, supporting them to make the decision that’s right for them.

More information can be found on GOV.UK and there are a number of social media posts you may want to share on Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin.

COVID-19 update

This week the Government announced that the measures put in place under Plan B in England will be lifted.  

This means the Government is no longer asking people to work from home. People should now talk to their employers to agree arrangements to return to the office.

And from 27 January there is no longer a legal requirement to wear a face covering. The Government suggests that you continue to wear a face covering in crowded and enclosed spaces where you may come into contact with other people you do not normally meet.

Find out about additional lifted restrictions, including information for devolved nations.

COVID-19 toolkit

Cabinet Office have shared their latest COVID-19 influencer and stakeholder toolkit. The key messages are:

  • Plan B restrictions are being lifted on 27 January.
  • Everyone eligible should get COVID-19 vaccines and boosters.
  • Pregnant women are strongly encouraged to have a first, second or booster COVID-19 vaccination.
  • The isolation rule for people with COVID-19 has been reduced to five full days.

Please support the programme, through your own social media channels, to encourage your audiences about the importance of getting vaccinated this winter.

Keeping Communities Safe During Winter webinar

On Thursday 27 January at 10am the Cabinet Office and UK Health Security Agency will be hosting the first session of the year in the series of Keeping Communities Safe During Winter webinars on Zoom to support community and faith leaders, voluntary and community groups with their ongoing engagement and communications on COVID-19.

There will also be ample opportunity for you to ask questions, share ideas for more effective engagement and to inform the Government about challenges and barriers faced by your local communities.

All community leaders are encouraged to attend. Please forward this invitation to other leaders in your community. To submit a question in advance or if you have any questions about the webinar, contact Obaayaa Asantewaa or Pascoe Sawyers at community.resources@dhsc.gov.uk.

Register here